South Shore Cultural Center

  • 7059 S. South Shore Dr.   Chicago, Illinois 60649 [View Map]
  • Fieldhouse Hours: ,
  • Park Hours:
  • Park Supervisor: Andrea Adams
  • Park Phone: (773) 256-0149

Located in the South Shore community, South Shore Cultural Center (formerly the South Shore Country Club) is a cultural facility that has been recognized as a Chicago Landmark (2004) and is also listed on the National Register (1975). This cultural haven was founded in 1905 and later rebuilt in 1916. Bought by the Chicago Park District in 1975, this historic building was restored as a historic landmark after a massive community campaign led by the Chicago Park District and historic preservationists. South Shore Cultural Center totals 64.50 acres. With its magnificent country club-like interior,this facility features a solarium, formal dining hall, Paul Robeson Theater, Washburne Culinary Institute, and the Parrot Cage Restaurant. Green features of the park include a nature sanctuary and a butterfly garden. Outside, the park offers a nine-hole golf course, beach, and open spaces for picnics and walks. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our solarium, dining room, theater, and fields. Park-goers can participate in variety of cultural programs and classes for all ages in dance, music, art, health, culinary arts, fitness, and more. After school programs are offered throughout the school year, and during the summer, youth attend the Chicago Park District’s popular six-week day camp.

In addition to programs, South Shore Cultural Center hosts fun special events throughout the year for the entire family, such as holiday-themed events.

South Shore Cultural Center Arts Partners:

As the gem of the South Lakefront, South Shore Cultural Center is proud to offer a variety of culturally rich programs to the surrounding community. These programs would not be possible without the successful partnerships that have been nurtured with the following organizations. For more information about these partnerships and programs, call the South Shore Cultural Center.

Country Western Line Dance: (773.933.1951), Triple H. Productions: (773) 768-6276, Steppin: National Steppers Society, (312) 259-1443, Ballet & Jazz: Iona Calhoun, (312) 493-5698,       Hatha Yoga: Jamila Onyeali, (773) 493-4840 - Sheelah Muhammad, (773) 752-5289, Ceramics: Talonna Sharp, (773) 256-0946, Chicago Music Association Branch No. 1: Barbara Wright-Pryor, (773) 721-3210,  Cooking classes: Washburne Culinary Institute, (773) 602-5487 

South Shore Beach

South Shore Beach is part of the South Shore Cultural Center, which is considered to be the jewel of the neighborhood. The site is a 65-acre park with a golf course, tennis courts, a pool, and an elaborate, refurbished clubhouse. The clubhouse is surrounded by the golf course, and sits back from the beach area. The site also has a circular beach house with concessions, restrooms, and showers, and it is located just to the east of the clubhouse on the beach. As of 2001, South Shore also has its own Nature Sanctuary, and visitors can walk along a boardwalk near the beach, and observe the emerging sand dunes, a small wetland, prairie landscape, and a variety of wildlife in the area.

History

The South Shore Cultural Center, a 65-acre park with a golf course, tennis courts, a bathing beach, and an impressive building, originated as the South Shore Country Club. In 1905, Lawrence Heyworth, president of the downtown Chicago Athletic Club, envisioned an exclusive club with a "country setting." Heyworth selected unimproved south lakefront property, often used for fishing and duck hunting, for the new country club.

The club's directors hired architects Marshall and Fox, later known for designing many of Chicago's most luxurious hotel and apartment buildings, including the Drake Hotel. For inspiration, Heyworth provided a photograph of an old private club in Mexico City, but asked the architects to exclude expensive embellishments. As the club could not yet collect dues, work had to proceed quickly and inexpensively. To this end, members Marshall Field and A. Montgomery Ward lent their store delivery wagons to transport turf, sod, and trees. Mr. Worcester, Vice-President of the Peoples Gas Company, put in lighting for the grounds and clubhouse.

Enjoying immediate success and social importance, South Shore Country Club quickly outgrew its facilities. Marshall and Fox were hired to build a new clubhouse, incorporating the original ballroom. Constructed in 1916, the larger and more substantial reinforced concrete building, like the original, was designed in the Mediterranean Revival style. The country club's membership peaked in the late 1950s. Simultaneously, many African-Americans began settling in South Shore. Because the private club excluded black members, it went out of business in the 1970s.

In 1974, the Chicago Park District purchased the property to expand its lakefront facilities. The park district planned to demolish the severely-deteriorated clubhouse. However, community members rallied together to save the historic building. Rehabilitating the clubhouse as a cultural center in the late 1970s, the park district has since restored other historic features including the front colonnade, entry gate and stables.

Parking/Directions

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.

South Shore Art Gallery

South Shore Art Gallery

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

South Shore Beach

South Shore Beach

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr. (71st St. @ Lake Michigan)

Notes: Distance swimming is from south end rocks to trees at north end of beach, parallel to shore at boat line

South Shore Bird Santuary

South Shore Bird Santuary

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Drive

Notes: South Shore Bird Santuary

South Shore Community Garden

South Shore Community Garden

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

Notes: Community Garden

Descriptors: Ornamental

South Shore Cultural Center

South Shore Cultural Center

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

South Shore Beach

South Shore Beach

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Drive

Notes: South Shore Beach

South Shore Garden

South Shore Garden

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

Notes: South Shore Cultural Center Formal & Herb Garden

South Shore Golf Facility

South Shore Golf Facility

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

South Shore Auditorium

South Shore Auditorium

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

South Shore Clubroom

South Shore Clubroom

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

South Shore Picnic Grove

South Shore Picnic Grove

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

South Shore Prairie and Grassland

South Shore Prairie and Grassland

Location Notes: 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

Notes: South Shore Cultural Center

Fall Programs

View our fall program schedule below.  Most activities run the week of September 15 through the week of December 1.  Registration is on-going while spots are available.


Winter Programs

Most activities run the week of January 5, 2015 through the week of March 16, 2015.  
View programs online beginning Monday, November 17.

  • Online registration begins on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 9:00am.
  • In-person registration begins on Saturday, December 6, 2014.

Click on the program name links below for program descriptions, availability information and to register online now (if available).

Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Acting at South Shore 91846InstructionCulture and Arts - TheaterAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2014/09/13 18:00From September 13, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 1pm to 2:30pm
$50.00
Ballet - Beginner Partnership at South Shore 92128PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2014/09/13 15:30From September 13, 2014 to December 13, 2014
Each Saturday from 10:30am to 11:30am
$150.00
Ballet - Beginner Partnership at South Shore 92129PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 8Coed2014/09/13 16:30From September 13, 2014 to December 13, 2014
Each Saturday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$175.00
Ballet - Beginner Partnership at South Shore 92130PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 8 but less than 13Coed2014/09/13 17:30From September 13, 2014 to December 13, 2014
Each Saturday from 12:30pm to 2pm
$175.00
Ballet - Beginner Partnership at South Shore 92131PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2014/09/13 19:00From September 13, 2014 to December 13, 2014
Each Saturday from 2pm to 3:30pm
$175.00
Belly Dancing Partnership at South Shore 92384PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2014/09/13 15:30From September 13, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 10:30am to 11:30am
Except the following dates:
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
$120.00
Ceramics - Wheel - Beginner at South Shore 92534InstructionCulture and Arts - Sculpture18 and upCoed2014/09/13 15:00From September 13, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 10am to 1pm
$50.00
Conditioning at South Shore Cancelled92623InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2014/09/13 14:00From September 13, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 9am to 10am
$50.00
Dance - African Partnership at South Shore 111465PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance12 and upCoed2014/09/17 23:00From September 17, 2014 to December 10, 2014
Each Wednesday from 6pm to 7pm
$120.00
Dance - Jazz at South Shore Cancelled92694InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2014/09/13 18:00From September 13, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 1pm to 2pm
$50.00
Dance - Tap at South Shore Cancelled92675InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 17Coed2014/09/13 15:30From September 13, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 10:30am to 11:30am
$50.00
Drawing & Painting at South Shore 92782InstructionCulture and Arts - Painting18 and upCoed2014/09/15 23:30From September 15, 2014 to December 3, 2014
Each Monday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Wednesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$50.00
Fitness Boot Camp at South Shore 92859InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2014/09/15 22:00From September 15, 2014 to December 1, 2014
Each Monday from 5pm to 6pm
$16.00
Fitness Boot Camp at South Shore 92860InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2014/09/20 15:15From September 20, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 10:15am to 11:15am
$16.00
Line Dance Partnership at South Shore 93709PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance35 and upCoed2014/09/18 16:00From September 18, 2014 to December 4, 2014
Each Thursday from 11am to 12:30pm
$40.00
Line Dance Partnership at South Shore 93710PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance35 and upCoed2014/09/18 17:30From September 18, 2014 to December 4, 2014
Each Thursday from 12:30pm to 2pm
$40.00
Martial Arts Partnership at South Shore 111460PartnershipGroupSpecial Interest - Self-DefenseAt least 5 but less than 16Female2014/09/11 22:30From September 11, 2014 to December 4, 2014
Each Thursday from 5:30pm to 7pm
$268.00
Martial Arts Partnership at South Shore 111461PartnershipGroupSpecial Interest - Self-DefenseAt least 5 but less than 16Coed2014/09/12 23:00From September 12, 2014 to December 5, 2014
Each Friday from 6pm to 7:30pm
$268.00
Martial Arts Partnership at South Shore 111462PartnershipGroupSpecial Interest - Self-DefenseAt least 5 but less than 16Coed2014/09/13 16:45From September 13, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 11:45am to 1:15pm
$268.00
Mom, Pop & Tot Yoga at South Shore 93795InstructionWellness - YogaAt least 2 but less than 6Coed2014/09/20 14:15From September 20, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 9:15am to 10am
$12.00
Park Kids - Fall Session at South Shore 94084InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2014/09/02 20:00From September 2, 2014 to December 19, 2014
Each Monday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Wednesday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Thursday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Friday from 3pm to 7pm
$100.00
Park Kids - Fall, Winter, Spring at South Shore 94143Activity_PackageOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2014/09/02 20:00From September 2, 2014 to June 12, 2015
Each Monday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Wednesday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Thursday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Friday from 3pm to 7pm
$300.00
Small Group Personal Training at South Shore 111464InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2014/11/01 16:30From November 1, 2014 to December 6, 2014
Each Saturday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$25.00
Step Aerobics at South Shore Cancelled94706InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2014/09/19 16:30From September 19, 2014 to December 5, 2014
Each Friday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$55.00
Strength and Conditioning at South Shore 95590InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2014/09/15 23:15From September 15, 2014 to December 1, 2014
Each Monday from 6:15pm to 7:15pm
$16.00
Winter Break Camp at South Shore 95494CampsCamps - General InterestAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2014/12/22 14:00From December 22, 2014 to January 2, 2015
Each Monday from 8am to 6pm
Each Tuesday from 8am to 6pm
Each Wednesday from 8am to 4pm
Each Friday from 8am to 6pm
$50.00
Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Acting at South Shore Cancelled98454InstructionCulture and Arts - TheaterAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2015/01/17 19:00From January 17, 2015 to March 28, 2015
Each Saturday from 1pm to 2:30pm
$50.00
Ballet - Beginner Partnership at South Shore 98749PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2015/01/03 15:00From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 9am to 10am
$175.00
Ballet - Beginner Partnership at South Shore 98750PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 8Coed2015/01/03 16:00From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 10am to 11am
$200.00
Ballet - Beginner Partnership at South Shore 98751PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 8 but less than 13Coed2015/01/03 17:30From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$200.00
Ballet - Intermediate Partnership at South Shore 98759PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 9 but less than 12Female2015/01/03 17:00From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 11am to Noon
$250.00
Ballet - Intermediate Partnership at South Shore 98752PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2015/01/03 18:30From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 12:30pm to 2pm
$200.00
Ballet - Pointe Partnership at South Shore 98760PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 14 but less than 21Female2015/01/03 20:00From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 2pm to 3:30pm
$250.00
Belly Dancing Partnership at South Shore Cancelled99054PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2015/01/03 16:30From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 10:30am to 11:30am
$140.00
Belly Dancing Partnership at South Shore Cancelled99055PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2015/01/03 17:30From January 3, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$140.00
Ceramics - Wheel - Beginner at South Shore 99215InstructionCulture and Arts - Sculpture18 and upCoed2015/01/17 16:00From January 17, 2015 to March 28, 2015
Each Saturday from 10am to 1pm
$50.00
Children's Theater at South Shore Cancelled99278InstructionCulture and Arts - TheaterAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2015/01/17 16:00From January 17, 2015 to March 28, 2015
Each Saturday from 10am to Noon
$50.00
Conditioning at South Shore 99317InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2015/01/17 15:00From January 17, 2015 to March 28, 2015
Each Saturday from 9am to 10am
$20.00
Dance - African Partnership at South Shore 112775PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance12 and upCoed2015/01/08 00:00From January 7, 2015 to March 25, 2015
Each Wednesday from 6pm to 7pm
$120.00
Dance - Jazz at South Shore 99386InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 8 but less than 17Coed2015/01/17 19:00From January 17, 2015 to March 28, 2015
Each Saturday from 1pm to 2pm
$50.00
Dance - Steppers Partnership at South Shore 99396PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2015/01/04 22:00From January 4, 2015 to February 1, 2015
Each Sunday from 4pm to 5pm
$55.00
Dance - Steppers Partnership at South Shore 99397PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2015/02/08 22:00From February 8, 2015 to March 8, 2015
Each Sunday from 4pm to 5pm
$55.00
Dance - Steppers Partnership at South Shore 99398PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2015/02/08 23:00From February 8, 2015 to March 8, 2015
Each Sunday from 5pm to 6pm
$55.00
Dance - Steppers Partnership at South Shore 99399PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2015/01/04 23:00From January 4, 2015 to February 1, 2015
Each Sunday from 5pm to 6pm
$55.00
Dance - Tap at South Shore 99415InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 17Coed2015/01/17 16:30From January 17, 2015 to March 28, 2015
Each Saturday from 10:30am to 12:30pm
$50.00
Drawing & Painting at South Shore 99458InstructionCulture and Arts - Painting18 and upCoed2015/01/13 00:00From January 12, 2015 to March 25, 2015
Each Monday from 6pm to 8pm
Each Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm
$50.00
Drop-In at South Shore 112774InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2015/01/30 14:00January 30, 2015
Friday from 8am to 6pm
$10.00
Fitness Boot Camp at South Shore 99605InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2015/01/05 23:00From January 5, 2015 to March 16, 2015
Each Monday from 5pm to 6pm
$16.00
Fitness Boot Camp at South Shore 99606InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2015/01/10 16:15From January 10, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 10:15am to 11:15am
$16.00
Line Dance Partnership at South Shore 100315PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance35 and upCoed2015/02/05 17:00From February 5, 2015 to March 26, 2015
Each Thursday from 11am to 12:30pm
$40.00
Line Dance Partnership at South Shore 100316PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance35 and upCoed2015/02/05 18:30From February 5, 2015 to March 26, 2015
Each Thursday from 12:30pm to 2pm
$40.00
Martial Arts Partnership at South Shore Cancelled112773PartnershipGroupSpecial Interest - Self-DefenseAt least 5 but less than 16Female2015/01/09 00:00From January 8, 2015 to March 26, 2015
Each Thursday from 6pm to 7:30pm
$268.00
Martial Arts Partnership at South Shore 112772PartnershipGroupSpecial Interest - Self-DefenseAt least 5 but less than 16Coed2015/01/10 00:00From January 9, 2015 to March 27, 2015
Each Friday from 6pm to 7:30pm
$268.00
Martial Arts Partnership at South Shore 114843PartnershipGroupSpecial Interest - Self-DefenseAt least 5 but less than 16Coed2015/01/10 17:45From January 10, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 11:45am to 1:15pm
$268.00
Mixed Media Arts at South Shore 112980InstructionCulture and Arts - Decorative Arts18 and upCoed2015/01/07 00:00From January 6, 2015 to March 26, 2015
Each Tuesday from 6pm to 7pm
Each Thursday from 6pm to 7pm
$50.00
Mom, Pop & Tot Yoga at South Shore 100394InstructionWellness - YogaAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2015/01/10 15:15From January 10, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 9:15am to 10am
$10.00
Park Kids - Winter Session at South Shore 100956InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2015/01/05 21:00From January 5, 2015 to March 20, 2015
Each Monday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Wednesday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Thursday from 3pm to 7pm
Each Friday from 3pm to 7pm
$100.00
Small Group Personal Training at South Shore 101435InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2015/01/10 17:30From January 10, 2015 to February 7, 2015
Each Saturday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$25.00
Small Group Personal Training at South Shore 101436InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2015/02/21 17:30From February 21, 2015 to March 21, 2015
Each Saturday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$25.00
Step Aerobics at South Shore Cancelled101544InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2015/01/09 17:30From January 9, 2015 to March 27, 2015
Each Friday from 11:30am to 12:30pm
$20.00
Strength & Conditioning at South Shore 101575InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2015/01/06 00:15From January 5, 2015 to March 16, 2015
Each Monday from 6:15pm to 7:15pm
$16.00
Textile Arts at South Shore 112981InstructionCulture and Arts - Textiles18 and upCoed2015/01/09 19:00From January 9, 2015 to March 20, 2015
Each Friday from 1pm to 3pm
$50.00
Yoga Partnership at South Shore 102287PartnershipGroupWellness - Yoga21 and upCoed2015/01/06 17:00From January 6, 2015 to March 17, 2015
Each Tuesday from 11am to Noon
$80.00

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Description

Located in the South Shore community, South Shore Cultural Center (formerly the South Shore Country Club) is a cultural facility that has been recognized as a Chicago Landmark (2004) and is also listed on the National Register (1975). This cultural haven was founded in 1905 and later rebuilt in 1916. Bought by the Chicago Park District in 1975, this historic building was restored as a historic landmark after a massive community campaign led by the Chicago Park District and historic preservationists. South Shore Cultural Center totals 64.50 acres. With its magnificent country club-like interior,this facility features a solarium, formal dining hall, Paul Robeson Theater, Washburne Culinary Institute, and the Parrot Cage Restaurant. Green features of the park include a nature sanctuary and a butterfly garden. Outside, the park offers a nine-hole golf course, beach, and open spaces for picnics and walks. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our solarium, dining room, theater, and fields. Park-goers can participate in variety of cultural programs and classes for all ages in dance, music, art, health, culinary arts, fitness, and more. After school programs are offered throughout the school year, and during the summer, youth attend the Chicago Park District’s popular six-week day camp.

In addition to programs, South Shore Cultural Center hosts fun special events throughout the year for the entire family, such as holiday-themed events.

South Shore Cultural Center Arts Partners:

As the gem of the South Lakefront, South Shore Cultural Center is proud to offer a variety of culturally rich programs to the surrounding community. These programs would not be possible without the successful partnerships that have been nurtured with the following organizations. For more information about these partnerships and programs, call the South Shore Cultural Center.

Country Western Line Dance: (773.933.1951), Triple H. Productions: (773) 768-6276, Steppin: National Steppers Society, (312) 259-1443, Ballet & Jazz: Iona Calhoun, (312) 493-5698,       Hatha Yoga: Jamila Onyeali, (773) 493-4840 - Sheelah Muhammad, (773) 752-5289, Ceramics: Talonna Sharp, (773) 256-0946, Chicago Music Association Branch No. 1: Barbara Wright-Pryor, (773) 721-3210,  Cooking classes: Washburne Culinary Institute, (773) 602-5487 

South Shore Beach is part of the South Shore Cultural Center, which is considered to be the jewel of the neighborhood. The site is a 65-acre park with a golf course, tennis courts, a pool, and an elaborate, refurbished clubhouse. The clubhouse is surrounded by the golf course, and sits back from the beach area. The site also has a circular beach house with concessions, restrooms, and showers, and it is located just to the east of the clubhouse on the beach. As of 2001, South Shore also has its own Nature Sanctuary, and visitors can walk along a boardwalk near the beach, and observe the emerging sand dunes, a small wetland, prairie landscape, and a variety of wildlife in the area.
The South Shore Cultural Center, a 65-acre park with a golf course, tennis courts, a bathing beach, and an impressive building, originated as the South Shore Country Club. In 1905, Lawrence Heyworth, president of the downtown Chicago Athletic Club, envisioned an exclusive club with a "country setting." Heyworth selected unimproved south lakefront property, often used for fishing and duck hunting, for the new country club.

The club's directors hired architects Marshall and Fox, later known for designing many of Chicago's most luxurious hotel and apartment buildings, including the Drake Hotel. For inspiration, Heyworth provided a photograph of an old private club in Mexico City, but asked the architects to exclude expensive embellishments. As the club could not yet collect dues, work had to proceed quickly and inexpensively. To this end, members Marshall Field and A. Montgomery Ward lent their store delivery wagons to transport turf, sod, and trees. Mr. Worcester, Vice-President of the Peoples Gas Company, put in lighting for the grounds and clubhouse.

Enjoying immediate success and social importance, South Shore Country Club quickly outgrew its facilities. Marshall and Fox were hired to build a new clubhouse, incorporating the original ballroom. Constructed in 1916, the larger and more substantial reinforced concrete building, like the original, was designed in the Mediterranean Revival style. The country club's membership peaked in the late 1950s. Simultaneously, many African-Americans began settling in South Shore. Because the private club excluded black members, it went out of business in the 1970s.

In 1974, the Chicago Park District purchased the property to expand its lakefront facilities. The park district planned to demolish the severely-deteriorated clubhouse. However, community members rallied together to save the historic building. Rehabilitating the clubhouse as a cultural center in the late 1970s, the park district has since restored other historic features including the front colonnade, entry gate and stables.

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.